Vibrations 2015
artist description

The Desert Cat

Justin Thompson


She was a tawny cat by the name of Ceersee, with thick fur that didn’t suit the hot, sandy desert where she lived, and big yellow/green eyes that gave away nothing, like all cats eyes. She belonged to a poor family at the edge of the Hallow desert, far east of the capital city.

Ceersee had been the family cat for over nine centuries and unlike most cats really had nine lives, well seven now. One she lost in defense of her charge three hundred years ago. She had caught and killed a swarm of wretched nightmares that had descended on the six year old, Narcee she remembered fondly, she had killed them all but suffered fatal wounds. She returned when Narcee’s daughter was living with her new husband.

She lost the other when she was attempting to fake her death, which she did with every charge at some point in their life, but this particular time she misstepped and was caught under the wheel of a military truck, grinding her flat into the sand. She had to claw herself out of a shallow grave. Wasn’t the first time, wouldn’t be the last.

Now Ceersee protected Narcee’s great plus granddaughter of nine years old, Nanami, from the wretched nightmare monsters. Most nights were quiet and Ceersee didn’t combat many dark forces, but not all nights were calm and peaceful.

On some nights Ceersee fought tooth and claw to defend her charge from an attack from the things that creeped and crawled out of the night, out of the shadows. She was good at what she did, trained as she was by one of the greats, one of the original children of Basthet, the goddess. She followed Balia’s teaching in a way that made her almost equal to her mentor and one of the best child guardians to ever grace the earth.

The night had been quite, only one minor skirmish with a nightmare that had lumbered out of the shadows cast by the young girls nightlight. Ceersee had sensed it before it had more than shambled out of the dark world and into ours. She had dispatched it with a few well-placed claw strikes that had decapitated it messily, but like all nightmares after its defeat its remains faded back into the shadows, leaving no trace of its prior intrusion.

Ceersee looked at Nanami as she landed lightly, almost ghost like, onto her bed and moved silently across the blanket that covered her. She could only smile, noticing, as always, all the little distinctions that had been passed down through the generations, all the way back to her first charge present in the little dimple in Nanami’s chin.

She had loved every one of her charges as if they had been her own kittens and despaired when she had to leave them and most of all when they withered and died. Even though she had not been with them she had always been close enough to know.

She moved onto the little girls pillow with a small, sad smile. Wishing that she could keep just this one forever, but knowing that too soon the girl would not need her guardian and that she would have to return home until the next child was old enough for her to be needed.

She curled herself down next to Nanami’s head, gently flicking her tail to move some wispy strands of hair from her face and wished until the sun started to rise and she knew the girl was safe for another night. Then she slept.